As tourism businesses across Cumbria continue to navigate their way through the Covid-19 pandemic, one of Cumbria Tourism’s Strategic Partners is looking further into the future, highlighting how students on its industry-related apprenticeship courses could play a role in the recovery efforts in the months and years to come.

The University of Cumbria offers a flexible chartered manager degree apprenticeship in the visitor economy, the importance of which has taken on new meaning in 2020 since the effects of Coronavirus slashed the value of Cumbria’s tourism economy by an unprecedented 50%.

Principal Lecturer in Tourism Management, Dr Angela Anthonisz, says, “Degree apprenticeships such as this one will become vitally important as we slowly emerge from the devastating effects of the pandemic and interest has been high amongst people in hospitality supervisory roles across the region, particularly those looking to use this time to upskill and add value to their CV.

“We are working with hotels, pubs, campsites, visitor attractions and service providers across the region, with a fantastic team of industry trained professionals, not just academics, and we have also recently added Ruth Paisley to our team, who has joined us from the Marriott Hotel Group. We have been developing new postgraduate programmes for education and industry focused on management in the visitor economy, as well as working closely with the Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas.”

Apprenticeships allow students to combine on-the-job training whilst studying for a qualification and the University of Cumbria offers a wide range of higher-level apprenticeships across health, policing, business and tourism and the visitor economy.

Dr Anthonisz continues, “In Cumbria and the broader region, even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, there has been significant higher-level skills needs and lower than national average productivity levels to address. Of the 56,000 jobs which need to be filled by 2021, around 27,500 are expected to be at Level 4 – that’s a higher apprenticeship or NVQ, or above. Currently the county only has 28% of its working-age population qualified to this level. Looking ahead as the recovery from Covid-19’s effects continues, the university is keen to support growth across key areas and put a strong focus on addressing regional sector needs like in Cumbria, where tourism is the lifeblood of the county’s economy.”

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “When it comes to degree level apprenticeships of this kind, there’s really no better place for people to earn while they learn than here in Cumbria.

“With its Ambleside campus in the heart of The Lake District, we are really fortunate to have a university which understands the value of tourism to the county and its decision to launch these opportunities before Covid-19 struck, has turned-out to be a brilliantly useful move.

“Working closely with Cumbria Tourism and also the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, the university has a clear strategic focus to support its Skills Investment Plan, delivering a mix of provision designed to serve the region’s needs and meet the challenges which hundreds of local businesses face here, as well as countless more further afield”.

Further information is online, at www.cumbria.ac.uk/tourism/ or by calling Dr Anthonisz on 07484 673733.

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